During a summer in India, I was repeatedly served honey lemon ginger tea at the yoga school dining hall and in various cafes around Rishikesh. I learned that it was a popular Ayurvedic beverage used for many different situations such as part of a detox, to aid in weight loss, to treat symptoms of colds and sinus infections, and as an immune booster. I came to appreciate this potent combo and it has become an important part of my winter routine.
Ayurveda (Indian kitchen medicine) taught me about working with the body by observing its different states in different seasons and finding balance through understanding and utilizing the elemental properties of food and herbs.
For example, in the winter months my body becomes more cold and damp than usual. There are a variety of reasons for this like the actual weather, a heavier diet, less physical activity, etc. To counter the cold, damp pattern, I turn to this classic drink ~ the ginger is warming and activating, the lemon is cleansing, and the honey is soothing ~ creating a warmer, lighter, drier, and more comfortable internal environment.
I've always been a "gets cold easily" person so when I came across the magic of Ayurveda and this particular warming beverage, I was grateful to be blessed with new knowledge! It's now my go-to for hydration on cold mornings to help heat my body up from the inside-out. I make a 32 oz portion in a 1-quart mason jar and drink it all morning long, priming my digestive system and boosting my immunity.
When making this tonic, use fresh and clean water, fresh lemons, fresh ginger and local honey. I'll admit to using ginger powder when out of fresh root, but bottled lemon juice has preservatives and just doesn't work here. You'll also need a micro-plane (as pictured) or a box grater. You can hand squeeze the lemon but if you use fresh lemon often, a squeezer is so worth it. You can find your own perfect balance of these four ingredients but I'll include my morning recipe below.
Honey Lemon Ginger Tea Recipe
(4 servings, 10 minutes)
32 ounces filtered water
1/2 of 1 lemon
1 inch of grated ginger
2 teaspoons of honey
Bring water to a boil in a suitable pot, then remove from heat.
Add lemon, ginger, and honey. Stir, then cover and let steep for 10 minutes
Trim off the end of the ginger that you're going to grate from.
I don't usually peel the ginger before grating it since the skin does not bother me, but you can peel it with the back of a spoon if you'd like.
You can strain the ginger pieces out of the tea but I usually like chewing on the bits as I drink my tea. They're extra warming!